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Reading the Tea Leaves: Andrew Bynum Wisely Avoiding Memphis

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By now, if you didn't watch it happen in person or on TV, you've all heard the news:  On the final Lakers' final offensive play of the fifth game of the year, in overtime, Andrew Bynum took a hard foul and injured his right arm. Collectively, of course, Laker Nation held its breath, and slowly began to lose its mind.

Not me. I know what's going on here.

The good news was that Bynum's arm was functional enough to make one of two free throws for him, effectively winning the game for L.A. The bad news was that after the game, Bynum couldn't use the arm to get dressed.

Of course, by now we have "more information" — or at least, that's what they're calling it — on this so-called injury. While it was originally thought to be a sprained elbow, they are now calling it a strained elbow, and he appears to be day-to-day. The word, passed along by the L.A. Times' Mike Bresnahan (via Twitter), is that an MRI revealed nothing serious, though Bynum won't play for the Lakers on Friday, and may or may not be back on Sunday.

For his part, according to the L.A. Times, Bynum is said to be "relieved that the injury wasn't 'too serious.' He had better range of motion this afternoon after being unable to use his right arm while getting dressed after Wednesday night's game." Lakers fans can breathe a sigh of relief; no big deal.

That's the official story. Of course, I know the truth:  This is all about Memphis.

How many things do you think a 7-foot, 285-lb. man, still young enough to think himself invincible, truly fears? Probably not many, especially when you factor in the financial security of a $12.5 million annual paycheck. But I can tell you one thing that is definitely way up there on Andrew Bynum's List of Terrifying Things That Make Him Scream "AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!" Like A Little Girl:  Memphis.

That's right, Andrew Bynum is scared of country music.

No, wait... that's not it. Uhh... Memphis. What was it about Memphis? I know there's something about Memphis that just terrifies the kid, but country music just doesn't sound right. Hold on, it'll come to me... OH YEAH! This:

Bynum_medium

That's right, folks. If you recall, in one of the eeriest coinky-dinks in sports, both of Andrew Bynum's serious injuries as a professional athlete have come while sharing the hardwood with the Memphis Grizzlies. The first occurred in January 2008, putting him on the bench for the rest of the season, including the entire playoffs. The second occurred in January 2009, sidelining him for almost the entire remainder of the regular season. Of course, he came back, but not in time to develop a rhythm or be of any significant use to the Lakers.

Of course, you probably noticed one or two other aspects to this super-eerie coincidence, and thankfully, those things won't be at play on Friday night. That's right — not only did both injuries, in successive years, come against the Grizzlies, but they both happened in the month of January, both times IN Memphis, and both times when Bynum was really hitting his stride and becoming a powerhouse in the paint for L.A.

Fortunately, Friday's game will not be in Memphis, and this is not January. Were either of those things the case, I would be starting the petition not to even allow Bynum into the Arena.

(I stand corrected; Bynum's 2008 injury was, in fact, in Los Angeles. Both did happen in January, however. Still, all the more reason for Bynum to avoid Memphis like the plague — regardless of location.)

Speaking of such eerie circumstances, you'll be glad to know that the Lakers' road game against the Grizzlies doesn't take place in January this year. Unfortunately, it takes place on February 1st, so I wouldn't get too comfortable. I'm sure the NBA Injury Demons will be pushing for leniency with regards to the date, which is why I will be sending around a petition to leave Andrew Bynum in Los Angeles for that game.

But for now, be proud of your favorite superstitious young center. He knows what's good for him — or, more to the point, what's horribly bad for him. Which is why, upon realizing that Memphis was next, he did what he had to do to make sure he wouldn't share a court with them.

He got "injured."